Wished away a broken fai.., p.19
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       Wished Away: A Broken Fairy Tale, p.19

           S.P. Cervantes
 
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  “You don’t have to tell us what it says, we are just here to share wine,” Joey says with a sad smile and kisses my cheek before sitting on the sofa lounger across from me.

  The three of them sit near me and begin opening their wine, and I focus my attention back to the letter. I’m not reading it aloud, and I don’t know that I want them reading it either. I take a deep breath and begin reading where I left off.

  You see, Jess is everything to me. I’ve loved her since the first time I met her, and there hasn’t been a day that has passed that that has ever waivered. I know you feel the same about Gage. We are both so lucky to have found someone we love more than ourselves. I believe there isn’t just one person on earth for each of us, and it is rare to find even one of those, but in you, I think I may have gotten close. That is why I must say good bye, my friend. We owe it to Jess and Gage to honor the love we have for them and the devotion they have shown us. There is not another man in the world that could be more worthy of you than Gage. I am only glad he never met Jess, because he would certainly give me a run for my money. Thank you for being my friend, and my confidant. I will never forget you.

  Your friend,

  Dave

  I sit there for a moment and take in his words of friendship, of love, and of his commitment to me. The jealousy that had enveloped me earlier is dissipated when I begin to remember what Dave said to me when he came home and told me about the girl I now know was Cassie. Everything in that letter was basically what he had told me. He was honest, he was loyal, and now he’s gone. He’s gone and never, ever coming back. Tears explode from me and sobs burst out causing everyone to shoot up from their seats and come to my side. I’ve never broken down in front of them this way, and the way they all come to my side, comforting me rather than questioning me, I wonder why I kept them out for so long. Memories of Gage, standing there watching me drive away, his deep blue eyes locking on mine that first time at the charity event making me notice him for the first time, flicker through my thoughts of Dave, and I begin to cry harder with the overwhelming feeling of having so many unanswered questions.

  “Did he take the job in Ohio?” I ask through my sobs, while I try to calm myself.

  Joey drapes his arm around me. “We have all tried to tell you, he never did, Jess. He turned it down the second he found out. He quit two weeks later, and decided to work with his dad on the bed and breakfast.” He brushes the hair from my tear stained face and looks at me with compassion knowing how much I didn’t want him to give up his dreams for me. “He still volunteers at the hospital and is setting up pro-bono surgeries for kids in need. He’s still doing what he loves.”

  “Like I said Jess, dreams change, and you are any man’s dream come true,” Holden says placing a kiss on my hand.

  “Easy there cowboy, let’s not go overboard,” Cam says slapping at Holden, lightening the mood, making us all laugh.

  “Great, now I have Jess’s snot all over me, thanks Cam,” Joey jokes as he pulls me in closer for a hug and looks down at me so sincerely, it almost doesn’t even look like him. ”He’s the plaster for your cracks, Jess. Don’t let him get away.”

  “Real smooth man,” Holden jokes and we all bust up laughing, and at first I think it’s the most unromantic reference to love, but when I see the way Joey is looking at me, and really notice how truly sincere he is, I can’t help but agree. Gage is the plaster for my cracks. He fills the gaping, infected hole in my heart, and if I stop holding on to the past, and acknowledge the reality of my future, and the fact that Dave will never be a part of it, I have no doubt he not only will fill that hole, but heal it.

  I lean forward and kiss Joey right on the lips, making him actually blush. “You’re the smartest man in the world, Joey McMillan. Thank you.”

  “Cut her off. She just said Joey was smarter than me,” Holden jokes trying to take my glass from my hand. When I give him the death glare, he simply laughs and refills both our glasses.

  Right then something makes me look up into the sky and I see five heart shaped clouds in a row and whisper to myself again, “Always choose love,” thinking of Dave. I’ve always felt as if he’s been at my side, pushing me along, encouraging me to move on after he died. That’s Dave, always thinking of others before himself. I wonder if he knows about Gage, and if he’s jealous, but when a breeze causes the clouds to shift forming one large, unmistakable heart, I have no doubt want he wants for me. Love.

  I smile and wipe away my tears, the final sign that I have no doubt is from Dave, being the push I need to pull my head out of my ass and claim the man I love. They all watch me with curious eyes when I get up and grab my phone out of my purse and punch in Gage’s number.

  “Who are you calling?” Cam asks scooting over next to me. She turns to the boys bouncing up and down. “She’s texting Gage you guys!”

  “Call him, don’t text him. That’s too impersonal.” Holden bolts out of his seat putting his hand on top of mine before I can hit send.

  Joey’s soon right next to him. “Dude, if she calls him right now, he’ll notice her slurring, and then think she’s only drunk dialing or giving him a booty call.”

  “Since when did you shy away from a drunk dial or booty call?” Holden’s voice is filled with sarcasm.

  “Dude, if someone I loved had broken my heart and I watched the phone day and night hoping she’d call, finally called and was drunk, I wouldn’t believe a word she had to say. I would think that she is thinking about one thing. My insanely huge…”

  I slap playfully at the two of them. “I’m not slurring,” I say with a slur and everyone laughs, including me. “Ok, you have a point. A phone call would be better if circumstances were different.” I hold up my nearly empty glass of wine to prove my point, and Joey tries to refill it again. “No more, Joe.” I roll my eyes at him, but can’t help but smile when he simply shrugs and tops everyone else off. I turn to Holden, the lawyer. Holden the level headed thinker. Holden the dependable one. “If you were Gage, would a text be better than nothing. Or should I just wait until tomorrow.” Please say text him, please say text him.

  He smiles sweetly. “I’d rather get a text. But if he’s anything like me…”

  “He’d be a boring lawyer,” Joey says causing them to both start to wrestle around like teenagers.

  I watch them roll around in the deck knowing they are going to be hurting tomorrow when they realize they are in their thirties and I think to myself that I’d now like to add an addendum to my statement before about Holden, and add that he’s all of those things I said before--when he’s sober.

  “Text him biatch,” Cam jokes using one my terms of endearment for her.

  I look up at my best friend. “I’m sorry.”

  She kisses my cheek. “Why?”

  “I lost myself for a while there didn’t I?” I take a deep breath trying to hold back the tears. “A part of me died that day with him, Cam.”

  “But Gage brought you back to life. You can’t let him get away, Jess. He’s the prize.” Cam’s smile almost breaks me apart because I know she’s right.

  I hold my phone up in the air with the words that I am hoping will bring him back to me. “Here it goes,” and press send as they all cheer.

  You are my rainbows and butterflies.

  Joey puts on my outdoor speakers and they all begin dancing along in celebration to the music blasting away and I get up to join them. I don’t know if my text will even make sense to him, but all I can do is hope he’ll at least respond. I turn to grab my glass that Joey begins refilling when my phone chimes and I know it’s Gage by the telling ring tone.

  I love you.

  Cam reads the text aloud to the others and Joey and Holden high five, clearly approving Gage’s response. My heart races remembering when he first told me that. The way he looked at me then, I had no doubt he loved me. I want nothing more than to make sure he knows that I never want to know what life is like without him again. I’ve already lost one of the loves o
f my life, and nothing I could ever do will change that. But this time, at least I have a chance to spend every day appreciating the gift I’ve found in Gage.

  You’re my plaster.

  Cam laughs when she says my text, but Joey simply nods as if that’s the line that will convince him of my love. I pause recognizing the source of the love advice and decide I need to be more straight forward and send another text.

  Can you forgive me?

  Before I even realize I’ve hit send, he’s responding.

  I’m not doing this over text.

  “Told ya he’d want to talk to her, not just text. It’s too big a deal,” Holden says victoriously when Cam reads the text aloud again. I think to myself that maybe the four of us are a little too comfortable with each other when they all start barking out to me how to respond, but all I can do is giggle at my loving friends. Nope, they’re perfect.

  My phone chimes again before I can formulate my response.

  I’m on my way.

  When Cam reads his text aloud we all being running around picking up wine bottles and glasses like we’re kids about to be walked in on by our parents.

  Another text quickly follows before I can respond to the other two. Apparently, he’s not waiting for me to approve, he’s coming either way, and I feel the fire he always ignites beginning to burn inside me.

  Cam grabs my phone this time and reads it to everyone.

  MAGIC

  “Magic?” Joey asks with a bewildered expression. “What’s he, a wizard now?”

  I smile at the mention a song that says so much.

  “He likes to text me songs that make him think of me,” I say blushing like a teenager, my heart warming as I silently sing the words in my head while Joey searches through my playlist. When the words begin to echo down the lagoon, I respond with a song that says how I feel about him.

  Give Into Me

  He responds quickly.

  The only song I will listen to on my drive over. Don’t. Go. Anywhere.

  I completely ignore his order. I have thirty minutes to drink a gallon of water and sober up before he gets to my house, and I’m out of bottled water, so we all decide to walk down the street to check on the kids and make sure Mr. Dade has things under control and grab some of Cam’s bottled water. We also want to see if we can fool Mr. Dade into our sobriety. What we find when we walk through the door are the three girls, snuggled up together on a blow up bed and Mr. Dade sitting attentively with a bowl of popcorn on his lap while Frozen is playing on the T.V. in front of them.

  “Dude, that movie is on every time I’m over here.” Joey laughs and pats Mr. Dade on the back. “I bet you’ve seen it at least a hundred times by now too.”

  Cam’s dad smiles down at the girls lovingly. “Hey, it’s actually not a bad movie. That Olaf character is pretty funny.”

  We all laugh and Holden wraps Cam up in his arms like he always does. Cam has always said it’s the one place she feels completely at peace. Watching them like this makes my heart ache for Gage because from the first moment I met him, his touch seems to be the one thing that makes me feel whole. Until tonight, I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself, not completely. He’s my plaster.

  Cam and Holden thankfully insist Charlotte stay there since she is practically unconscious, giving me just enough time to run home and brush my teeth and freshen up. I can’t maintain a consistent thought right now, and I’m panicking that Gage will think I’m only feeling this way because I’ve had a few glasses of wine. I still have so many questions, so many fears. But the one thing I’m certain of is that I don’t want to waste another day without him. When I drove away from him today, and his figure grew smaller as my car pulled away, it felt like a piece of me was being torn out.

  A faint knock rattles on the front screen door and I hear the squeak of it opening, and know it’s Gage. My heart is a bass drum when I turn the corner to see him standing there, his hair long and unruly atop his head, his hypnotizing eyes bearing into me with intensity that could shatter anyone. He’s wearing the same thing as when I drove away and I wonder if he’s been thinking of me as much as I have him since I left tonight. When my eyes lock on his, there’s no doubt I’m the only thing on his mind, and he’s across the room in an instant, taking my face in his soft hands, and the world melts away.

  “You can never leave me again,” he says with a deep rasp. “Nothing is more important than us, Jess. Nothing.” His voice stammers when the tears fall from my eyes. He’s so beautiful in every way, I silently curse myself giving up so easily.

  I reach up and run my hands through his hair, loving the way the silky strands feel against my fingers. “I’m sorry I’m such an ass, Gage…”

  “Don’t be sorry, just believe in us enough not to give up, Jessica. Believe in us, because I’ve never believed in anything more.” His mouth is against mine, and it takes everything inside me not to jump on top of him and show him how much I believe in us, but there has been too much left unsaid between us.

  He pulls back and leads me over to the couch, and I know he wants to talk. I was hoping he would take me upstairs first, dreading hearing his answers and realizing that I’ve been a huge ass hat, but I know him better than that. I smile up at him, and run my hand across his stubbly cheek that sets me on fire with the memory of how it feels on my body. An expression of relief comes over him when he notices the way I look at him, and I wonder how I could have been so stupid.

  “Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t take the job?”

  He sighs exasperated. “Jessica Bosi. I told you from the moment I was offered the job that I wasn’t going if you weren’t going with me.” He laces his fingers with mine calming my nerves and letting me know nothing I say right now will change how he feels about me.

  Questions swirl in my head, and I grasp at the first one that comes to mind. “But I heard you tell someone you took the job. I know I did.”

  He smiles at me knowingly. “So are you trying to tell me you’ve been telling yourself I was actually moving to Ohio, even after I said under no uncertain terms I wasn’t, all because of a conversation you were eavesdropping on?’”

  I drop my mouth open trying to feign offense to his statement, but can’t bury the smile as I try to defend myself, knowing there’s no real defense. “I wouldn’t call it eavesdropping as much as I would classify it as accidently hearing a private conversation out of context.”

  He shakes his head. “Is that why you ended things? Because you thought I was leaving?” his voice is distraught and I know I have to be completely open right now. I can’t hold back any more.

  I pull him close to me, needing the strength his touch always provides. “I didn’t want you to give up an opportunity you’ve spent the past ten years working towards. I didn’t want to be a reason for you to give up a dream and have you look back ten more years from now and resent me for holding you back.”

  “Stop right there.” He holds his hand up stopping my explanation. “Yes, at one time there was nothing in the world that was more important to me than medicine. But that was before. Before Cassie died, before I lost a part of me. Before I met you, and found love again. Before I learned how to live again.”

  The truth in his words touch a part of me I thought had died with Dave, and hearing him say exactly what is in my heart makes it even more clear now how perfect he is for me. But I wonder if he is really sure he is doing what he wants.

  “Is that really what you want?”

  He reaches over and tucks a piece of my hair behind my ear and I lean into his touch, needing to feel his bare skin on mine. He brings my palm to his lips and presses a gentle kiss to the center, seemingly having a direct line into my heart. “I had decided to invest in the B and B before I’d even dreamed we’d be together. After Cass died, it became harder and harder for me to work in the ER with so much death around and so little I could do about it. When Dave died, it was the final push I needed to help me move my life in a direction I’ve always knew i
t would end up. I just got there a little faster than I planned. I’ve always wanted to use my skills in medicine to help the needy, and now I’ll have the time and freedom to go to hospitals across the globe and give speeches, and still practice medicine, while taking on this very special venture with my dad. Running a hotel was never a life dream of mine, but this B and B, and all the things we will be able to do in the community because of it, is something I’m proud to be a part of.”

  “Why didn’t you tell me all of this before?”

  I can see by the look on his face I’m not going to like what he’s about to say. I reach out for him again, but he just holds up his hand. “Every time I tried to talk to you about it, you shut me out, Jess. You fucking stone walled me. I called, I emailed, and not once did you answer.” He runs his hand through his hair, his eyes burning with frustration. “No one has ever made me feel that way before, Jessica. No one. I knew you were sabotaging our relationship, and it was tearing me apart because you of all people should know better.” He reaches out and grabs my waist, pulling me up onto his lap, moving his hands up my back to cradle my head in his hands. “We know what it is to lose everything, and you walked away from me when I knew you loved me, and didn’t look back. Why?”

  I swallow hard trying not to cry. “At first, I felt too guilty to admit my feelings for you, because I thought if I fell in love with you that meant that I didn’t love Dave as much as I thought I had. And in the moments when I felt like I loved you in a much different way than I’ve ever loved anyone, the guilt I felt was crippling.” I look away for a moment and take a deep breath, feeling suddenly lighter for having admitted it. “I was scared, and when I heard about the opportunity you had, and everyone kept saying how it would be a dream come true for you, I panicked. I pulled away because I was too stupid and too weak to just ask you to give it all up for me. I knew it was selfish of me to ask you to stay here. I knew that if I gave Charlotte the opportunity, she would have gladly followed you there with me. But it was too soon to ask that of you. So I acted the fool and shut you out.” I pull myself up against his body, and brush my lips across his. “I’ll regret it for the rest of my life if you don’t take me back.”

 
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